UCC pastor: The necessity of communion at this time
Pastors are struggling with how to handle the sacrament in times of social distancing. Do we celebrate Communion even when we are not together as one faith community? After prayer and discernment, I have decided that yes, we will livestream communion, and not just monthly, but weekly until we are together again. Here’s why.
- Communion is thanksgiving: As in the Seder, we need to be reminded of God’s mighty acts in difficult times. The Eucharist can be our assurance of God’s faithfulness.
- Communion is presence: There is no better way to celebrate the presence of Christ with us than in the breaking of the bread. The scriptures are full of stories of Christ being made known in this sacred act. It is the central act of the Church and reminds us that we are not alone.
- Communion is union: Communion is literally unity together, reminding us that even in diaspora, the Church is united. When we celebrate the sacrament, we proclaim that there in nothing that will separate us from God, not even Coronavirus! To be united WITH Christ, is to be united with each other IN Christ.
- Communion is hope: We proclaim it weekly: fear and death will never have the last word. The Eucharist is the meal of a triumphant God. Whether in oppression, in exile, or in quarantine, we are an Easter People.
So, we will be celebrating livestream communion, even if “together” means spiritually. Our people need normalcy; they need the hope that only the church can give. The Holy Meal reminds us that as people of faith, we celebrate a God whose faithfulness knows no end.
May the gift of this sacrament, blessed God, unite us in spirit, and remind us of the day when we will be together again. Amen.
The Rev. Rob Apgar-Taylor is pastor at Grace UCC in Frederick, Md., with a worshipping community of 75 on Sunday mornings. His first livestream service last week on on YouTube, GraceliveFrederick, had more than 200 views.
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